FedEx Cup for Dummies 2009 Edition

By Rex HoggardAugust 26, 2009, 4:00 pm

 
Stop me if youve heard this one before: A mathematician, a PGA Tour official and Vijay Singh walk into a New Jersey bar . . .Bada Boom.
 
Welcome to the 2009 edition of FedEx Cup for Dummies. If youve perused this tome before, read on because Version 3.0 of the Tours playoff experiment gets underway on Thursday at Liberty National and will look nothing like the 2008 edition, to say nothing of the 07 inaugural offering which may not even be of the same DNA.
 
Playoff Primer
  • Field sizes were cut for this years post-season: with the top 125 regular-season points earners advancing to this weeks Barclays in New Jersey, followed by the top 100 at next weeks Deutsche Bank Championship and top 70 into the BMW Championship
  • The playoff points reset, which occurred after the regular season in 2007 and 08, will now come after the BMW
  • Points awarded at the first three playoff events will be increased, with the winner earning 2,500 points compared with 500 points to the winner of regular-season Tour events and 600 points for a major championship or Players champion
  • The post-BMW reset will narrow the gap between first- and second-place to 250 points, making it mathematically possible for No. 30 on the reset list to win the FedEx Cup and $10 million bonus. The players in the top 5 entering East Lake, however, will control their own destinies with a victory at the finale
  • Tour officials hope to maintain the same type of volatility that the 2008 playoffs had ' Vijay Singh began the post-season seventh in points while runner-up Camilo Villegas started at No. 42 ' while also assuring a solid regular season is rewarded by delaying the reset until after the BMW
For the third consecutive year the Tour tinkered with decimals and divisors not because something was wrong, but because its what one does when operating without a net or instruction manual.
 
Playoffs ' a misnomer of semantics and perhaps the most glaring problem in the circuits season-long quest ' are, by nature, works in progress. Just ask any baseball traditionalist still lamenting the onset of the wildcard concept or NASCAR fans who eagerly await the annual tweaks to the ever-evolving Race for the Cup.
 
The next four events are no more a playoff, at least in the traditional sense of the word, than Decembers Q-School is a place of higher education. But in the Tours defense, A four-event race to a big payday doesnt have much of a marketing ring to it.
 
Playoff is a hard word because you think that there will be eliminations each week, said Jason Bohn, a member of last years Players Advisory Council and one of many architects of the current plan. But if you dont play well one week, you can have a great tournament the next week and be right back in it. Its FedEx Cup triple elimination.
 
There will be tweaks, but I do like the fact if you play well all year you wont fall out so quickly in the playoffs. If feels like a mini-major.
 
The Tours greatest attribute in the development of a playoff is a willingness to adjust. As dogmatic as Ponte Vedra Beach can be about certain things ' drug testing, player fines, slow play ' the playoffs have become a Petri dish of ideas.
 
The only way to have a good idea is to have many ideas, or so the old saw goes, and the creation of a viable post-season in golf has taken a village.
 
Even Singh, hardly one of the circuits most outspoken or political types, had a take on how the playoffs should be structured when asked on Tuesday.
 
Every week (you) should be back to zero (points), said the 08 cup champion. You just advance. It's a tournament. It's part of the money list. It's part of the Tour still, and every week should be back to zero. A hundred play or 200 play or whatever and you just cut it down to whatever is necessary, and the last day it's a shootout.
 
The evolution of the playoffs has a Goldilocks feel to it, with the initial concept (2007) not having enough volatility and last years post-season having too much movement for some. Whether the 09 edition is just right remains to be seen, but at least they are trying.
 
Field sizes for the four playoff events were trimmed this year to 125 (Barclays), 100 (Deutsche Bank) and 70 (BMW), and the points reset was moved to the week before the Tour Championship to mathematically assure all 30 players at East Lake have a chance at the $10 million pot.
 
Arm-chair mathematicians have already found a possible flaw in the new math, however, noting that Tiger Woods can win the first three playoff events, as outlandish as that sounds, and could somehow still get beaten in the season-long race with a poor showing at East Lake.
 
We wanted the Tour Championship to be something where if you had the No. 1 seed, you sort of had something akin to a home court advantage in NBA basketball. You can lose, but you've got an advantage, commissioner Tim Finchem said on Wednesday. The intervals that we set for that first seed provides you an advantage.
 
By comparison, Singh won the first two post-season events last year and needed to only make four loops around East Lake without tripping over his putter ' a feat, not for nothin as they say in Jersey, he found impossible at Hazeltine National.
 
There will be more tweaks. Golf World magazine reported earlier this month that Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els have lobbied Finchem to cut the playoffs to just three events ' if only the NHL had similar-minded stars we might be spared endless post-season hype and a 15-minute off-season. Normally, when the games biggest names speak with one voice action items follow.
 
There is also a perception problem within the general golf public regarding the Tours infant post-season. The golf calendar has 12 months, four majors, one unforgettable cup (perhaps two, with Octobers Presidents Cup looming) and a healthy supporting cast of events from Dove Mountain to Doral. A shiny silver cup and a steady march of promos dont create big events ' history and actions do.
 
Like The Players, the playoffs may grow into the must-see event the Tour pines for, but our Twitter society will have to come to grips with the reality that it takes more than 140 characters and three experiments to make a memory.
 
Woods has signed on for the playoff opener in New Jersey this week for the first time, a symbolic first step if ever there was one, and the new math of a post-BMW reset will assure that a Braves pennant run and University of Georgia football are not the only hot topics in Atlanta come September.
 
And thats not too shabby, at least until next fall when a host of new tweaks will require the fourth edition of Fedex Cup for Dummies. Buy your advanced copy now, and avoid the rush.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Barclays
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.